The gift of delight

steve_goreI’m curious, when I talk to couples about their relationship, about how they part and how they come together.  My question is usually, “At the end of the day, what comes through the door?” and, “What do you walk into?” With couples whose relationship is going through some turmoil or a slump the answer is often, “sullenness”, “silence”, “eggshells”, “tentativeness”, “hostility” or something along those lines.  

This initial coming together often sets the tone for the whole evening.  If that split second is set by the echoes of an argument of days before, or by stresses of work, or by a day of dirty naps and screaming kids, it sends a message to the other of isolation and disinterest.  

In every intimate relationship an enduring question each is constantly asking is, “Are you here for me?”, and the parting moment and coming together are moments that question comes to the fore.  If you walk into distractedness, the fleeting thought might be, “I don’t matter – her/his mind is elsewhere.”

What would it be like if your parting was a kiss and hug of genuine affection instead of a quick peck that tells your partner that your mind is already out the door and in the office?  What would it be like if “delight” came through the door, or you walked into “delight”?  How might that set a different tone tone for the evening and change the mood of the whole house. Our delight is a gift to our partner (or children, friends, family or colleagues).  Instead of not mattering they become the most important thing in the world to you for that brief moment.  

Every dog owner has had the experience of coming home to wild delight at their arrival.  It’s one of the reasons dog owners love their pets so much…that daily gift of being loved and wanted that their dog gives them, and that moment of coming together is where it gets most strongly expressed.

You could be in the midst of a drawn out argument and still be delighted to see the other.  You can be incredibly hurt by your partner and still be delighted to see them. You could have had the worst day you can remember and still be delighted to see them.  It is only a matter of pausing to remind yourself that you are coming together and wanting to give them the gift of your delight.

ka kite ano

Steve Gore

http://www.baycounselling.co.nz

If you are ready to tackle your problems call 578 0959 for an appointment

“Either/or”…what else?

steve_goreAs a society we find it very easy to slip into what is known as totalising. We take one story or aspect of a person and use it to define them, and use that aspect to totally explain the person.  If we know someone is an addict, we might make conclusions about how trustworthy they are, maybe we might consider them a “failure” by social standards, and we ascribe behaviours to that thing…”They are late because they are an addict.”, “They lost their job because they are an addict.”  This is a very common way of making sense our world and since this way is supported, it is somewhat accepted.  It is also quite unhelpful.

Many of the people I work with have experienced abuse from someone they love, a parent or a partner.  When society learns that a father sexually abused his child, we kick into totalising and binary thinking and struggle to believe anything good about the man.  This can be incredibly difficult for the child, even into adulthood.  Totalising creates one story that urges them to hate this person who they love dearly, and tells them they should overlook  all the good memories of holidays, gifts, support and love.

If they reveal the abuse they will be required to hate this person they love.  If they don’t then there is something really broken about them.  This either/or approach to how we think about abusers can silence people in abusive relationships.  While it is tempting to get stuck on the idea that people don’t reveal abuse because of shame and fear, it can often be more complicated than that.  They may be keeping silent out of love and confusion.

I’ve found it helpful to step away from those “either/or” statements and explore “both/and”.  We don’t overlook, minimise, forgive or accept the abuse but we also explore the good qualities of the person and honour those.  “He was both a loving boyfriend and a violent drunk.”, “She was both a fantastic mother and an abusive binge drinker.”

Let’s be clear, this is not about justifying, explaining or minimising the abusive behaviour – this approach is about the victim of the abuse being allowed to both love and hate a person, so being allowed the freedom to truly own their experience, without the judgement of society telling how they should feel.

Ka kite ano

Let’s go!

steve_goreI’m really excited about getting this website up and running.  It’s been sitting dormant for a long time, while my focus has been on other things.  I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experience and the things I have learned from my journey in counselling in the hope that there might be ideas that you find helpful in your own journey through life.  So if you have stumbled across my site for the first time I’m really please to be met by you and hope that one day I can meet you too.

Ka kite ano

Steve